Legal Aspects of Conflicts of Interest in the Financial Services Sector in the EU and China : The XYZ of Norm-making

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Law, Stockholm University

Abstract: The dissertation is an analysis of financial services firms’ duty to manage the conflicts of interest that can arise within the scope of the firm-client relationship in the financial services sectors in the EU and China. Three services in particular are used as examples, namely buying and selling shares in companies on behalf of clients, investment advisory, and individual portfolio management in relation to such shares. The study examines and compares the legal solutions adopted in the EU and China.In both legal systems, different aspects of the conflicts of interest issue can be identified; the issue is addressed by several norms. The study encompasses the private law aspect, the regulatory framework, and the interplay between them.In the EU and China, issues in the financial services sector could be addressed by norms of various nature, which can give rise to complex legal landscapes. In such legal landscapes, in addition to statutory laws and regulations, there are norms of the quasi-binding, soft law, and international nature. In the examination thereof, it is necessary to adopt analytical concepts and frameworks that transcend the traditional approach to law and lawmaking. The complexity of the legal landscapes thus poses challenges to the traditional systematics of law generally used to organize legal thinking. Therefore, the dissertation presents an analytical tool which was developed during the course of the study. It is an ideal-typical model that is focused on norm-making, i.e., the xyz of norm-making. It is a heuristic device that could serve as an aid to analyze complex legal landscapes. The dissertation suggests that the xyz-model could be applied for mapping out legal landscapes composed of norms of various nature, including those that fall under the scope of soft law, and provide a simplification of complex legal realities.

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